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Talasha Prabhu, The success story of the young mermaid of Goa

Parents always try to make sure that their children achieve great heights in their life and in pursuit of that they start finding out
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Parents always try to make sure that their children achieve great heights in their life and in pursuit of that they start finding out the best possible avenue for them. Many of us try to project our own unfulfilled desires and ambitions into our children and forced them to do something they never liked to. But there are few who try to find out the hidden talent in their children and try to nurture them till it flourishes. This is the story of one such young girl of Goa who became the star swimmer of India on the international level and the credit of it goes to her parents.

I am talking about none other than Goa’s ace swimmer and India’s fastest female swimmer who went to compete on international level. She is one of the youngest swimmers in Goa who achieved the accolades which is rare. Although she achieved the milestones that many do not even dreamt of but her journey to the success was not easy at all. She had to face a lot of hardship and sacrificed her precious moments of childhood to become the star sports persona of Goa.

Goa does not have many swimmers who reached so far till date, that too at this young age. Talasha is India’s fastest female swimmer who clocked 26.97 seconds during the official Asian Games 2014 she is just close to the Shikha Tandon who managed to swim 50m freestyle in 26 seconds. This is not the small achievement. How Talasha managed to achieve this milestone and what kind of difficulties she had to go through to get herself in that position. We will tell you everything right here in this piece of writing. I am sure that most of you know about Talasha but here I am going to reveal some of the secrets of her success that many of you perhaps are not aware of as yet.

When I met Talasha when she was on her break from the swimming, she is 23 now and currently perusing her higher studies. She told me that she wants to have her own time that she was missing all those years when she was busy perusing her dreams. Currently, I am doing my diploma in computers at NIIT and I go for a swim as and when I feel like. I do gym to keep myself fit, that’s what I am up to right now and I am just enjoying the life at the moment,” she said with the sweet smile spreading across her face.

According to Talasha, she started her journey long ago when she was just 8 years old. “I was little scared of water when I was small” she recalls “You may not believe this if I tell you but it is the truth. I was just like any other kid who would not want to venture into the water initially. But that fear went as soon as I entered into the water first time. Slowly I started developing an attraction towards the water and looking at my interest my father enrolled me in the swimming classes. Usually, many kids start learning the swimming right at the age of 4 or 5 but due to my phobia at an early age I started learning the swimming when I was eight,” said Talasha. She reached the competitor’s level when she was 10. “I was trained at Camp under the guidance of Coach Thomas Jose. Here by the journey of winning medals started. That was the time I decide to move to Bangalore. My entire trip to Bangalore was sponsored by Dempos and I am grateful for that. I was trained in Bangalore for 5 years under the guidance of leading Indian coach Pradeep Kumar,” She narrated.

According to Talasha, Nisha Madgaokar, a swimmer from Goa saw that spark of talent in her and told her parents she swims very well. “Nisha told my parents that I swim well and that I am adapting to the water very well and with proper training I have the potential of becoming a good swimmer,” she said. Talasha also confessed that just like other parents her parents also tried to put her into classical dance classes like Bharatnatyam. “I was really bad at that. I was more of a sports person. I used to play football. I used to play on forward but then I realized that it is not my field and I need to concentrate on swimming,” she said.

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She was telling me about her achievements but I was curious to know about her academic activities during that period. I wanted to know how she managed to do her studies while perusing her dreams of becoming the ace swimmer. When finally I asked her I was surprised to know how much trouble she went through to achieve her dreams. She told me that she used to study in between the times after the training with very little sleep. “I was studying at ‘Our Lady of Rosary Convent in Donapaula but I had to leave the school to go to Bangalore for training. During the training, I continued doing my studies but it was in between my training. I used to swim in the morning and then come back and study for an hour, go to sleep, then go swimming and gym come back at night and again little study followed by dinner and back then go to sleep. This was my schedule for the entire period of training,” she said.

Talasha told me that she took a break for doing her further studies, she wanted to do the diploma in computers, when I asked her why the studies are so important for her when she already achieved a lot in the field of sports she revealed the shocking facts about the existence of hypocrisy in our society. She told me that people feel that studies are more important than any sports activities and achievements. “When I was in Bangalore doing my training, I had developed that stigma because parents of other swimmers used to come and ask me as why I am not doing studies. What about your education and career? I used to feel bad, I don’t know as why they used to bring out the issue of my education. That started affecting me. I am physically very strong but emotionally I am weak. Luckily my mom was with me who is my strongest support system without her I would be crumbled down,” said Talasha.

According to Talasha, she took a break from swimming due her aspiration of completing the graduation. “But I ended up doing my diploma in computers and now I am thinking back going to swimming,” she said. This shows how much importance we all give to the academic success. Our society still does not value the achievements in sports (unless of course it is cricket) Talasha’s achievements are remarkable. Today she is India’s fastest swimmer and she has the potential of going to the international level to achieve the similar credentials. “Now I am thinking of doing some academics as well as the sports. Because in Bangalore there are doctors who are also swimmers,” she said.

When Talasha was 15 she won the individual championship at the senior nationals. “I was the fastest swimmer in the female category from 2008 till 2014. My focus went off the track due to my loss in London Olympics qualification round in the year 2012. I missed it just 5 seconds. It’s kind of depressing after working so hard. That pushed me back a little,” said Talasha. According to Talasha, she is swimming for almost 12 years now and she really do not have any social life. Talasha talked her heart out saying “Actually I just wanted to see what life is outside from being brought up as a swimmer. I literally have no friends. And whoever I have been all competitors. You cannot count on them as friends. Life is hard. So just came out of it and finally I managed to make some friends, made boyfriend (He is a sports person). My parents are also cool with it. I have finally realized what the life outside the swimming world is. Otherwise, it was only swimming. Eat, sleep, breath & swim.”

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Talasha is been swimming for almost 12 years now and according to her, she is continuously in touch with the water and in case she decides to compete again it will take her only 3 months to get back into form. “As long as I am keeping fit and keeping touch with water it will take just 3 months for me to come back,” she said.

According to her, Goa has one of the best swimming facilities in India, but it still needs some improvements. It needs one good gym and line rope for competition level practice once these things are put into the place Goa will be the best in India. “When I go to Mapusa I see that kids are trained under the diving coach for swimming, which is not correct,” she said. According to Talasha, she is born to swim and she will keep swimming.

Talasha has many awards at her disposal. She has 4 national level records and 21 individual championships at national and state level in her name. The major award she has won was Dilip Sardesai award in the year 2010 after she got qualified for Common Wealth Games. Talasha is really grateful to her parents for letting her pursue her dreams. She said that her parents never forced her into anything but just stood strongly by her side and helped her climb the ladder of success.

The story of Talasha sets an example of dedication and handwork. It tells us that by putting genuine efforts and little bit help of god gifted talent one can attain the greatest heights in a shorter span of time. This section is designed for the young talents/ achievers of our society who believes into changing the world by setting up an example. It is not the easy task at all. It needs the complete dedication and lots of sacrifices. The story of Talasha sets up an example of complete dedication and sacrifice. If you are aware of any such young talent in Goa please do let me know. You can write to me at [email protected]

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